Hi this is Chris, Julie said she blogged a little, but didn't get as far as "gotcha day." After arriving in Xi' An (She Ann) we were met by our guide "Ann," who ensured we got to our hotel and before leaving us for the night, stated she would pick us up the following day at 1:30 p.m. Just before 1:15 p.m., the following day, Julie and I prayed in our room for strength, knowledge and peace, then departed our room to meet Ann and another family who was also adopting a little girl. After a brief meeting, Ann and the driver, "Mr. Leo" took us to the bank of China where we were to convert our U.S. dollars into Chinese currency. Ann told us to bring at least $7,000 U.S. currency. Once at the bank, we waited in line for a teller, every few minutes a loud three toned alarm, followed by what sounded like the announcement of pending doom would sound. We asked Ann what in the world was going on? Ann stated the bank was just announcing the next customer. The family who went with us was called to the teller first, the bank was hesitant about exchanging such a large amount of currency (the average worker in Xi' An earns about $7,000 U.S. dollars per year) until they learned we were adopting. The exchange rate is approximately six Chinese dollars for every one of our dollars. After making the exchange, I had so much money, I couldn't fit it all in my pants pocket! We talked Ann and Mr. Leo into taking us back to the hotel so we could lock the money in our room safe. After this, we were off to the Civil Affairs office to finally meet Ellie!
After we arrived at the Civil Affairs Office, we walked into this building which appeared to not have any heat! Although, there were enough smokers in the lobby area to provide a nice haze throughout the first floor. We walked to the elevator and waited for a car. My mind was racing! My heart was about to jump out of my mouth! I literally felt like I was going to throw up! I was thinking; great, here I am about to meet my youngest daughter and I'm going to throw up all over some Chinese government official! After we boarded the elevator, the little girl who accompanied the other family, counted how many people were in the elevator; "six", said the little girl. Her mother quickly added; there will be eight when we come back down! I was thinking; not if I'm passed out there won't! I thought we would ride up to the Civil Affairs Office and be placed in some waiting room while waiting to meet Ellie. However, as the doors of the elevator opened, there were three Chinese children and a number of other people standing right there. During this whole process, Julie and I would tell people God just keeps opening doors for us! I'll be darned if this door didn't open and lead us right to Ellie! I walked out of the elevator and turned to the right, quickly scanning to find Ellie, or, a soft spot on the floor to land, whichever came first. Julie called out to me; there she is, do you see her? I said yes, but, to tell the truth, I had tunnel vision and couldn't see much of anything!
After gaining my composure, I walked toward Julie, who was standing next to an orphanage worker who I recognized from pictures we had received. In her arms was the most beautiful baby in all of China! It was Ellie! There was no time for tears, no time for anything, for sure no time to throw up! I walked over to Ellie and held out my arms. She quickly turned away from me! I had been warned about this; she may not take to you right away! I had two things in my favor, I had not thrown up all over myself and Julie had packed some suckers! I quickly handed Ellie a sucker, she hesitantly accepted the bribe. I then held out my arms again, this time she came right to me! My heart was soaring! I felt just like I had when my two older children, Summer and Wyatt, were born! I gave Ellie a kiss on her cheek and forehead, she then leaned in and I kissed her on the lips! If I was struck down at that moment, I could have said I had lived a complete life! As we stood there, we learned traffic had prevented the Civil Affairs Office from being opened, our exchange would occur right there in a cold hallway! Before leaving, the orphanage worker informed Julie Ellie was sick with some sort of respiratory infection. The worker gave Julie enough medication for an army! We then reentered the elevator, and if that little girl wasn't right, there were eight of us going down in the elevator!
Unfortunately, one of the first things we had to do when getting back to the hotel with Ellie was give her the medication. Yeah, this won't make you mad or anything, two people you just met trying to shove pills into your mouth! Fortunately, we have perfected giving Ellie her medication, she still cries, but its over very quickly! Ellie has what I call rock star status in this hotel! Every time we go to breakfast, we have several waitresses who stand by our table waiting for anything Ellie may need! Ellie's personality is really coming out and she is laughing much more often! She like to sneeze in my face, which she thinks is the funniest thing ever! She has called Julie "Ma Ma" which I know makes Julie's heart skip a beat!
I know I've been rambling on, but I just want to wrap this up by giving God all the praise and glory for this adventure! I feel very blessed, God spoke to me and I was able to hear! Julie's willingness to follow when I suggested God was wanting us to adopt is a testimony to her faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Thank you Lord, as I stand hear, nothing more then filthy rags, you blessed me and my family more than we could ever deserve!